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December 18, 2009

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Luxury watches right on time

LUXURY watch makers are celebrating Christmas in Shanghai, one with a glittering exhibit, another with its first Chinese mainland store.

Swiss high-end watch maker Vacheron Constantin, best known for its complicated men's watches, wants to show that it's equally strong at creating exquisite jewelry watches for women.

An exhibition featuring diamond-studded high jewelry timepieces by the world's oldest watchmaker is underway in the city. Most of the exhibits are on display in Asia for the first time, and most are women's watches.

In 1979, Vacheron Constantin produced a legend watch called "Kallista," which means "the most beautiful" in Greek. It was carved from a gold ingot, featuring 118 diamonds weighing 130 carats.

Celebrating the 30th anniversary of "Kallista" this year, the watch house has created a collection of diamond watches, including "Kallania," a fully set diamond timepiece featuring 186 emerald-cut diamonds weighing a record 170 carats. The collectors' piece also houses the thinnest mechanical movement in the world, the 1003 calibre. It is valued at 5 million euros (US$7.26 million).

Both "Kallania" and a replica of "Kallista" are on display, together with another 13 glittering diamond watches as well as 12 antique timepieces dating back to 1900 from the brand's museum in Geneva.

Meanwhile, another Swiss haute horlogerie, Roger Dubuis has launched its first store on the Chinese mainland in Shanghai on Huaihai Road M.

Roger Dubuis is the only brand with all its watch movements certified with the Poincon de Geneve, or Geneva Seal. Founded by watch maker Roger Dubuis in 1995, it was acquired by luxury goods group Richemont last year.

The new Shanghai boutique showcases the brand's four most significant collections - Excalibur, Kingsquare, Easydiver and Goldensquare. Its highly complicated watches in precious metals are restricted to no more than 28 pieces.

Most recently, a Roger Dubuis complicated watch, Excalibur white gold minute repeater, was auctioned for 3.68 million yuan (US$538,800) at a charity gala.

At the boutique's opening ceremony, Matthias Schuler, global CEO of Roger Dubuis, gave the check of all the proceeds to Jackie Chan on behalf of the actor's foundation, which builds schools in rural China.

Jewelry Watches Exhibition

Date: through December 20, 10am-10pm

Venue: Vacheron Constantin Maison, 796 Huaihai Rd M.

Tel: 3395-0800


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